It took longer than many collectors expected, but the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set sold out prior to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, Oct. 16.
The US Mint kept the set open in a standby status for several days, with the following message displayed at its online store:
Waiting List Notice: The number of orders we have taken meets the maximum limit for the United States Mint Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set. You may still place an order for this product, which will go on a waiting list. If a product becomes available due to an order cancellation, we will fulfill orders from the waiting list on a first-in, first-served basis. We cannot provide information about your position on the waiting list.
When we place your order on the waiting list, we will send you an order receipt. This is not a guarantee that you will receive your order. If we are not able to fulfill part or all of your order, you will receive a cancellation or sold-out notification. If you paid by check, you will receive a refund.
Prior to noon ET on the Thursday, Oct. 22, the Mint officially ended sales, and closed out the Chronicles set for all time.
In the end, 50,000 sets were purchased by collectors in less than 30 hours. (Numismatic News editor Dave Harper reported 29,919 were sold by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.) Obviously, the sell out did not occur on day one, as many were thinking possible, but it was crystal clear how furious the demand was following their Thursday noon launch. US Mint phone lines were extremely backed up with repeated automated messages to "try again later" and the entire Mint Web site was down for hours. The Mint later issued an apology for the online hassles customers had to experience.
With the 50,000 gone and at a price point of $55.95, the Mint pulled in a quick $2.8 million. Not bad for about a day’s work, but they are probably very pleased that most of the public order headaches are in the past.
Eyes will begin turning to the secondary market to see how high premiums will go, since that will be the sole means to acquire the Lincoln sets very soon. Prior to the launch of the Chronicles Set, there were just a handful of pre-sale listings on eBay with completed auctions closing between $140-$169.
As of this writing there are over 150 listed, with premiums exceptionally strong. (See Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Sets on eBay.) More than 60 completed auctions have gone from between $129 to $245. With a sell out now confirmed, it would seem unlikely that prices would decline in the short term. It would be more likely to see them rise.
Demand will be strongest coming from collectors who missed out and from those who simply want more than one, since the US Mint had a one order limit in place.
The end of the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set marks a significant turning point for all the coins which celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. It has been an exciting year for collectors during the Lincoln product launches. The next, and final on the US Mint schedule, is the Nov. 12 release of the 2009 Lincoln Presidency Cent.